Monday, January 20, 2014

Explorations in 2014

2013 left me feeling drained in the creativity department.  I thought that by taking the entire month of December off that I'd magically become inspired again.  I was wrong.  I've spent weeks feeling blah, uninspired and just uninterested.  I finally decided I'd avoid bead-making a bit longer and work on jewelry.  That was the first step in my creative turnaround.  I submitted several pieces for publication and they were all accepted....YAY!

With that spark, I decided that 2014 would become a year of exploration for me.  I need new skills and a new attitude about my bead-making.  After speaking with some friends, I chose a few things to work on that I hope will re-inspire me.
Jenny suggested I engage in some sort of mini challenge each day.  Since I don't have decent drawing skills I'm going to attempt a small doodle every day in my sketch book.  Craft-a-Doodle by Jenny Doh will be my guide.
It makes sense to then apply those simple drawing skills to my ceramics.  I headed over to Dick Blick and stocked up on linoleum blocks for stamp carving.  As you may recall, back in July I attended a workshop at CREATE Mixed Media Retreat and wrote about my experience in a rubber stamp carving class.  I"m finally going to make regular use of what I learned there.
I also picked up two books to assist in my stamp carving; Carve, Stamp, Play by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and Making an Impression by Geninne Zlatkis.  I see myself using original carved designs for pendants and for functional and decorative pottery.  I'm not giving up on beads, I just can't see myself doing 100% beads at this point.  I need some pottery time back in my life.
Now I couldn't continue to avoid making beads because I'll be vending at Berks Bead Bazaar in March so I had to force myself to get back to work.  Those beads are just a few of the pieces I made last week.  I'm working slowly but I"m also allowing myself to play with simple shapes.  I've decide that my pieces don't have to be complicated.  I can use simple shapes and play with layering glazes instead.  I also intend to finish my new raku kiln this spring and get that started up again.

The reality is that I needed change and I'm going to allow myself to do just that.  Sometimes we have to step out of our box or comfort zone and try new things (or revisit old things).  My resolution for 2014 is to explore.

Will you be exploring something new this year?

Diana P.
Suburban Girl Studio LLC


  1. Exploring new elements in you craft is very important I look forward to seeing where it takes you.

  2. Exploring new elements in you craft is very important I look forward to seeing where it takes you.

  3. We must share a brain, because that is exactly what I wrote about on the Art Bead Scene on Friday! I love that you are branching out and also circling back around to your loves! I have been in the blah-ville station for some time. So I have decided that my word, or rather, phrase of the year might be ON TRACK, as in GET BACK on it! I am hoping to carve out more time for metals. And I would love to do some more stamps. Never done lino cutting before but would love to try and I do have one of those books (will be looking for the others). I have long wanted to carve all my own textures for my own work. I am off to look at books and buy that torch that I want! Enjoy the day. Erin

  4. How fun! You sound energized already. Can't wait to see what you do! Fallow time is important though--forcing yourself to keep going often doesn't work (but if it's your living, fallow time is kind of a luxury, I imagine). I lose interest in what I'm doing every couple months, haha. I'm a master of fallow time. I've been telling myself for several months now that to get out of my doldrums I am going to have to start soldering and enameling. I want to do more knotting and stringing too. I also want to try some stacking bangle sets. And of course now that I've said all this out loud I'll never do it.

  5. We've all been subject to those creativity slumps. Glad you have worked your way out of this one! I, too, have been searching for the right creative direction for 2014 and have come up with a few ideas. I have a couple of blogs myself, if you get a chance. and torched
    I have always loved working with clay and now I am diving deeper into fusing the enamels (so far only with a torch for instant gratification, which I am sure you can appreciate.) Maybe some fusing in my kiln later. I've been working with enamels for less than a year, so I float back to the clay comfort zone on a regular basis to be really productive.

    Good luck with your beads.

  6. I found this blog post so interesting because I am also planning on doing some sketching and rubber stamp making. I even thought I would buy Geninne's book. I wanted to use my own stamps in my enamel work.I guess great minds think alike!

  7. It's nice that you are exploring other options and having fun. I know so many people have mentioned being rather 'out of it' creatively (myself included!) and to return to old roots or try something new seems a great route. I know it's helping me a bit to return to some more simpler things, that's for sure!

  8. Interesting to see/read of so many on the same boat, me included. I took a break since November and still trying to figure it out. Want to make doodles and stamps too. Have Jenny's and Geninnes books too for a while now, collecting dust somewhere. I wish I had a bigger kiln where I could make big ceramics stuff, but doubt it I will achieve that. Time to charge my batteries I guess.... Nice post Diana. p.s. I miss seeing your raku.

  9. Hi Diana, I liked your post. You had some good ideas. I had not settled on my word of the years yet. I like explore very much. I hope you won't mind it I use it too.I will give you credit for the idea when I post about it.

  10. I look forward to seeing what happens. I'm sure your creativity will explode at some point very soon.

  11. My muse decided to take a vacation in November but she came back around the end of December. Whew. I didn't realize how much I would miss her. My goal for this year is to make at least one piece of jewelry a week. I don't care if it is just a pair of earrings, I need to make sure that I make to my studio every week.


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